All deer hunters know how precious deer meat is and how important it is to preserve it properly.
If you’ve recently bought deer summer sausage and are looking for ways to store it, you’re in the right place.
In this article, I’m going to answer questions on how to store deer summer sausage. I’ll discuss the safest recommended options for freezing, refrigerating, refreezing, and more.
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Does Venison Summer Sausage Need to be Refrigerated?
Unopened, venison summer sausage doesn’t need refrigeration most of the time.
You can find more specific information about your summer sausage on the packaging.
It will most likely say “Refrigerate after opening,” which means you should place the sausage in the fridge once you’ve opened it.
And while most sausages are safe at room temperature, some might need refrigerating. In that case, it will say “Needs refrigeration” on the packaging, meaning they need to go into the fridge ASAP.
As you might know, summer sausage is a particular type of meat. It has a long shelf life, and most store-bought venison summer sausage will be as good as new in the pantry.
The meat has been stuffed with cure, a unique mixture of ingredients that preserves the meat for longer. Among other components, the cure includes sodium nitrate, efficient at combating botulism bacteria.
However, don’t let the sausage sit in the pantry for too long – no longer than one month.
If you want to consume the deer summer sausage cold, or it feels safer to store it in the fridge unopened, you can do that as well; it won’t hurt the meat.
You can keep unopened deer summer sausage in your refrigerator for three months.
How Long Does Deer Summer Sausage Last in the Fridge?
After opening your deer summer sausage and storing it in the fridge, it’s best to finish it up within three weeks.
To safely preserve meat for that long and maximize its shelf life, it’s best to tightly cover the sausage in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will stop the air from infiltrating and potentially compromising the meat.
If you decide to store an unopened package of venison summer sausage in your fridge, it will be good for three months.
Can I Freeze Venison Summer Sausage?
Absolutely. You can freeze venison summer sausage just like you would any other type of food.
This is your best bet if your main goal is to maximize its shelf life. However, you want to freeze the meat properly, so it doesn’t get freezer burn or rot before time.
Here’s how to safely freeze your venison summer sausage:
- Get enough freezer paper for the sausages you have.
- Put the paper on a flat surface and wrap the sausages just like you’d wrap a gift.
- Fold the edges around the meat.
- Get some freezer tape and stick it around the edges.
- Label the sausages and don’t forget to write down the date. Otherwise, you might forget it.
- Store the package in the freezer for up to six months.
- If you have a vacuum sealer at home, you can also use that and then simply toss the packaging in the freezer as is.
Finally, it’s best to freeze the sausage in the long term (more than three months). If you plan on using it within a couple of months, you can keep it in the fridge.
Can You Refreeze Deer Summer Sausage?
Yes, you can refreeze summer sausage. However, you should be very careful during the thawing process.
Make sure to thaw the summer sausage in the fridge or in the microwave. You shouldn’t leave the summer sausage at room temperature for longer than 24 hours if you plan on refreezing it.
By thawing and refreezing any food, you risk spoiling it.
Even though deer summer sausage is cured meat, changing the temperature too much can decrease meat quality and potentially cause it to turn bad.
You want to check for spoilage signs every time you thaw the sausage after freezing. If you notice a change in color or smell, or you see mold growing, you should get rid of the sausage.
Thawing Deer Summer Sausage
There are two proper ways to thaw deer summer sausage – in the fridge or in the microwave.
Thawing in the fridge will take a bit longer, but it’s the simplest and most natural option. However, you have to make sure the temperature in your refrigerator is under 41°F.
You want to place the sausages on a plate and find room for them on the bottom shelf. The plate will keep the meat juices from leaking all over your fridge.
You’ll know the sausages are thawed if they’re soft to the touch, and there’s no sight of any ice.
Depending on how big your batch is, the whole process might take an entire day. If you plan on having frozen deer summer sausage for dinner, you should get it out of the freezer the previous day.
Another thawing method is in the microwave. This is a much faster option than thawing sausages in the fridge, but it also requires utmost care.
To avoid burning the sausages, put them on a plate and set the microwave on “defrost.” They should stay inside until they separate.
You can use a fork and check whether you can separate them. Once the sausages separate, microwave again for two minutes until completely thawed.
You should cook deer summer sausage right after defrosting it. This will keep the harmful bacteria away.
Knowing how to store deer summer sausage is essential for everyone’s health. Many food-borne bacteria emerge due to improper food storage.
When it comes to deer summer sausage, it’s best to keep the open packaging in the fridge before finishing it off. Unopened packages are mostly safe in the pantry.
You can always double-check by reading the packaging label information.
Thanks to its curing ingredients, summer sausage is generally more resistant and durable than regular sausage. And for many meat lovers out there, it’s also tastier. If you’re one of those people, I’m sure you won’t even need to freeze this meat delicacy before it’s all gone.